From Bags to Bottles
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Photography by Daniel Marks
Throwback to twenty fifteen. Delinquente's Release Shindig with The Fruitful Pursuit. We land at King William Street on the corner of North Terrace.
As a side offering to our diggings through South Australia's expansive wine territories, winemaker Greg Grigoriou invited a gathering of rosy-cheeked hospo heads into a pop-up stable he was running, right smack-bang in the middle of Adelaide CBD.
Chef Mike Proud, an Italo-Don at the time, prepared a selection of snacks to accompany Greg's lineup of odds and ends: juicy, fizzy liquids made from (then perceivably) alien grapes, wrapped in delightfully grotesque stickers that would drop any 'serious' wine drinker into a pool of conniptions.
Together with the growers he's worked with since 'DLQ' kicked off in twenty thirteen, Greg's ingenuity has thwarted a longstanding problem for Australia's largest grape growing region. The Riverland's had a bad rap for years. Forget the industry (and lifestyle) defining advancements of the Hill Hoist and Bag-In-Box technologies this region is responsible for, although, herein may lie part of the problem. The Riverland has never been taken seriously for much in the way of winemaking, other than volume. Serious volume. As of the 2019 vintage, it accounts for 69% of South Australia's annual crush, and 30.6% of Australia's total wine production. Given an Olympic size holds about 2.5 million litres, this would easily fill 100 swimming pools. That-sa-lotta goon.
The DLQ approach is easily asserted. You grow southern Italian varieties, that are far more climatically suited to the dry, arid expanses of the Riverland. You treat the grapes with respect; farm them sustainably. Then, instead of manufacturing an homogenous product that uses the grape as a base-level 'ingredient' while engineering flavour, aroma and texture through the use of chemical adjustments and every addition imaginable, you create something with a bit of soul. You make delicious and light, easy-drinking wines that, while retaining its supreme value, express the real Riverland. Finally, you package the experience with the same barrel of monkeys your forebears (unknowingly) established in backyards across Australia over 50 years ago.
Delinquente epitomises the revolution. More than just a cheeky 'fuck you' as the name and labels suggest, it's an intelligent response to an environmental reality our industry faces, en masse, and is poised to echo far deeper and wider than any simplistic aspersion cast at commercial winemaking or the region at its fore.
Leap forward to twenty seventeen. After pumping out just enough pleasurable juice to interrupt Australian wine's foothold in Japan, South Korea, USA, Canada and the UK, Greg announces the 'Hell' series.
'Delinquente's Hell' is a premium line of Riverland wines: handpicked, organically-farmed gems that are cradled lovingly in old barrels for about eight months to be given their time to shine, with just a touch of SO2 added, that's it. They're the wines Greg always hoped to make with the very best fruit he's had the pleasure of working with.
We're honoured to be supporting Greg this week:
PYJAMA WINE with DELINQUENTE
Together with an exclusive episode and a bottle of:
• 2019 'Screaming Betty' Vermentino — a breezy thirst-slacker with oodles of white peach and nashi pear
your $79 ticket also includes two of the latest Hell wines:
• 2019 'Delinquente's Hell' Rosé — made with Lagrein, Malvasia and Chenin Blanc
• 2019 'Delinquente's Hell' Negroamaro — blended with a lick of Montepulciano and Lagrein
Get behind Greg. Be a delinquent.
BUY YOUR TICKET HERE
Sales end this Sunday 17/4